In today’s post I want to get straight to the point. I’m going to outline the biggest reasons why people buy from you and I want you to see if your marketing, branding or actions map appropriately to your customer’s motivations.
Here are the big three:
Have you ever been scrolling through Amazon and hit that “Add to Cart” button out of instinct? You weren’t hunting for anything in particular but it felt good to make that purchase. Amazon is really good at showing you things it thinks you’ll like, need or could want and they know that everyone likes an easy dopamine hit. You also get those good feelings because your brain rewards you for engaging in a behavior that’s rooted in survival - like storing food for the winter, getting a perceived good deal, or avoiding FOMO. Your brain gives you that quick dopamine hit and you enjoy the benefits of your purchase in the short term.
Is your product or service recreationally based? Is your value proposition tied directly to providing an amazing customer experience? If it is then you should think carefully about how you’re rewarding your buyers in the now or immediate future. Nerf does an amazing job of this for it’s customers of all ages - it’s a brand that is the physical embodiment of fun. You might not be selling soft foam toys but you might be able to glean a thing or two from Nerf’s marketing if you’re counting on your customer’s instincts to buy.
2. Reflex or Reaction.
When people are buying out of reflex or reaction they are addressing an immediate need or problem. If your toilet is flooding in the middle night and you call a 24-hour plumber, that plumber is charging you a premium to help you solve that problem. Out of sugar when you’re baking cookies means you’re running to the grocery store. Struggling with marketing, received a cease and desist order, or need help building your business development efforts means your engaging with the appropriate professional services provider. I think you get it.
If your product or service solves a specific problem then you need to figure out what situations best create the opportunity for someone to find and use what you’re offering. Is your marketing mapping to the times when people need you most? Are you leading with the value you provide in those tricky situations? What about how much better someone’s life is after they engage with you? Understanding your customer’s biggest motivators or “why” for needing you will help position your business for success because you won’t just be listing your features or benefits. Remember, people don’t go to the hardware store to buy a power drill you’re selling the hole the drill makes.
The promise of change can be a big motivator for people. Right now we are living in a world where one of the biggest draws in something like a new phone is its ability to get smarter. I know this first hand because I bought the new Pixel 2 XL because of Google’s promise that their AI would get smarter which means it will help me be more productive. Yes I needed a new phone but aspirationally I’m always looking for better ways to do more and be more and this phone tugged at all the right heart strings for me. The promise of being better is why online courses, fitness programs, and even some professional/life coaches sell so well. It’s because customers engage because they believe that going through a process or consuming a product/service will make their lives better.
Having the power to sell aspirationally is a power that you need to wield carefully. Well it’s actually less Spiderman’s Uncle Ben and more of a King Arthur’s Excalibur (double edged sword.) The reason? Of all the ways to position your business to your customers, aspirationally is by far one of the easiest. It’s easy to come up with words of inspiration and promises of change. What’s hard is delivering the value on that promise. What’s hard is getting people to finish the online course they started with you, to take your advice and actually do something with it and to stick to the diet the fitness program outlines. That’s why it’s a double edged sword. Not only that but the market is overcrowded with hucksters that will gladly take money from a customer and be happy with delivering a mediocre at best experience. So, if you’re business is promising a transformation or a benefit that makes someone’s life better you need to make sure you have the chops to deliver.
Now you’re challenge.
I challenge you to take a hard look at your business. I want you to really think about why people engage with you and the value that you deliver. Then you’ll be able to figure out which bucket catches most of what you do. It might not be perfect but it’s important to focus on one of the three reasons why people buy and realign your marketing so that it matches the motivations of your customers. It will help you save money and talk directly to your customers more authentically. There’s no wrong choice here and I’ll give you three examples to match businesses that are doing each one really well.
Note: None of the following businesses are sponsors in any capacity. I just think they are great examples of the reasons why people buy.
Impulse - Vat19.com - https://www.vat19.com/ This site sells really fun and interesting gifts. They have a ton of fun in their videos and on their site and do a great job of inviting you to join in on that fun.
Reaction - Freshbooks - https://www.freshbooks.com This is an small business accounting and invoicing service that steps in when your business needs to up its professional game. They do a great job nurturing small businesses and letting their customers know that they are going to be there when their customers needs them.
Aspirationally - Marie Forleo - https://www.marieforleo.com/ Marie Forleo is a big deal in entrepreneur and business building circles. The reason is because she delivers hard on her promise of helping business builders change their lives so they can build businesses that reflect the “special gift” only they can deliver.
See, no secret formula. Just great marketing celebrating where people are on their buying journey. Best of all these examples aren’t trying to capture everyone. They’ve identified how they deliver value and why their target customers are most likely to buy.
Now, get to work!